Lisa Macdonald

On January 28, 40 people gathered at Latin America Plaza, outside Central Station, to mark the 155th anniversary of the birth of Cuba’s national hero, Jose Marti.
The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) is organising a 2008 May Day solidarity brigade to Venezuela for trade unionists and all other people interested in seeing first-hand the unfolding revolution in that country.
What Women Want (Australia) is a new political party formed in April that obtained federal electoral registration in August. It currently has almost 780 members, women and men, and is standing 14 Senate candidates across every state and the ACT, plus lower-house candidates in Wakefield and Hindmarsh in South Australia, Gippsland in Victoria and Stirling in WA.
More than 400 people participated in around 65 workshops and 10 plenary sessions to discuss a myriad of national and international campaigns against imperialism and neoliberalism at the Latin America and Asia Pacific International Solidarity Forum held at Victorian Trades Hall and the RMIT on October 11-14. The participants included 33 activists and leaders from people’s movements and political parties in 20 countries, the most diverse left gathering hosted in Australia for years.
Hundreds of social-movement activists, trade unionists, students, Indigenous people, environmentalists and other progressive people will be gathering in Melbourne in mid-October to hear the most impressive line-up of international guest speakers to meet in Australia for many years.
Planning is well underway for the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s sixth brigade to Venezuela, to be held from November 23 to December 3, and registrations are open to everyone interested in this unique opportunity to witness firsthand a revolution in the making.
July 5 marked 196 years since Venezuela declared its independence following a long struggle led by the country’s Indigenous people and a black slave revolt. To mark Independence Day, the embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela hosted a public conference in Sydney on July 7.
The Australia-Cuba Friendship Society held its 2007 national consultation in Canberra on April 13-15, attended by some 60 activists from around Australia. The gathering was also attended by Cuba’s consul and consul general in Australia, Nelida Hernandez Carmona and Ifrahim Miranda Leon, as well as representatives of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, vice-president Buenaventura Reyes Acosta and Alicia Corredera Morales.
Oliver Ressler, an Austrian artist and co-director (with Dario Azzellini) of Five Factories — Worker Control in Venezuela, hosted special screenings of his film in Melbourne and Sydney. Ressler’s presentations were part of the “If You See Something, Say Something” exhibition and were sponsored by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN), LASNET and the Melbourne Bolivarian Circle.
Last May 1, more than 1 million people joined the May Day celebrations in Caracas, Venezuela. Since then, Venezuela’s impoverished population, led by socialist President Hugo Chavez, has taken over more workplaces, set up more cooperatives, established hundreds of free public education and health programs, organised their neighbourhoods and taken big steps towards exercising “popular power” in their country.

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